General Open Thread – TV Shows (2)

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    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @purofilion — and yeah, Eve is annoying. Not a character that I think totally worked. I think what is slightly lacking is that there should have been some real diehard Wolfram and Hart-ties in the style of Holland Manners or Linwood for them to come up against and no one really steps up to that mark. I believe the original plan was for Lilah to have been around for at least some of the season but the budget cuts meant that they could no longer afford Stephanie Romanov (well, those descendants of the tsars don’t come cheap, I guess)….

    Anonymous @


    indeed, Spike and Harmony -he’s still the same person, to an extent, but I do remember a definite deeper tone (I’ll be re-watching parts of S6 Buffy with the Boy this week) to Spike -a deeper voice, a quieter, more thoughtful manner? Which, now, seems to be ‘lost’. He always annoyed Angel and vice versa -so the jealousy is natural toward each oother and as for Harmony, poor Spike couldn’t boink Buffy in the end so as soon as he’s corporeal, then why wouldn’t he? ūüôā

    I liked Cordelia-and loved her development I just wasn’t as attached to her as I was to the other characters. Her contribution was definitely de-valued as you say. I can imagine Joss was as mad as its possible to be. I think he expects a lot of his cast? The not-speaking, the singing, the 28 takes with the opening one-er in the this first ep of S5 Angel! And fair do, his direction, now that I know what that is ( ! ) is interesting. He spoke about this in Buffy, having 5 charac speak to each other whilst around a table, for example, the camera moving around whereas I’ve noticed now, more normal direction (even sloppy stuff) where you have the ‘one person, switch to second, and quick edit.’ I guess it means less takes, less stuff ups: less cameras bumping into each other, less lines being mangled by the very last person in the 5 mins one-er.

    And yes, I liked the stress (well, you know what I mean) of Lorne -everyone else has had their own issues raised & for Andy H to do this -a karaoke guy but not an actual actor (I assume this is the case, but then not all actors go to Juillard or to RADA etc in any case, they stumble on in -see Brendon I spose) was awesome.

    I think Marsters is an extraordinary actor -n0 matter if he plays crazy “I’m gonna kill you to drink the potion” in Destiny or if he’s playing on Fred’s sensitivities, or if he’s frightened of Pavayne: every minute’s a treasure and certainly the fans loved him when he was ‘himself’ in Buffy -the early series (aside from the girly stuff in S6, 7¬†-though S7 was lighter and less ‘involved’).

    Yes, if I’d listened to Joss’ wonderful commentary sooner, I would have heard about the budget and arc issues -he said quite plainly the he was required to have a story of the week which can still easily have an arc -much like Who-, in this most recent series, anyway.

    Anonymous @


    So, had time to compare Angel to Buffy and…. well, before I open the envelope, I can say Boy & I finally caught up on S6 with¬†Smashed, Wrecked, the others in between and ended with Red..well, whatever it is with tara’s shocking murder….and I have to say the endless “Buffy you love me” “no, Spike I really don’t” “oh but we kissed and I love you, you know that…” was very annoying: big Spike eyes. Lots of quiet nothing time on screen.

    I sound like Anya: “blablabla”. The pace was so slow. And Jim, in your blog, you spoke about how they (seem to) limp about like losers, going backwards, never forwards. How true! After a month out of it and on an Angel bender, I can say I had to recalibrate. In fact, I could comfortably watch a good deal of it at¬†1.5 speed! Never a good sign.

    Totally unlike seasons 1-5 and even seasons 2-3 which were yappy, quick, very funny and not anywhere near so desolate.

    So….with S7 not yet seen by The Boy I will say that winner is:


    We have no winner: It’s a tie. I still have the Buffy love: and it was S5 that clinched it as well as the¬†very end of the last part of the last episode of the show.

    Also, I haven’t quite watched all of the final Angel season yet but I get a feel that they’re moving forward as people -even Fred isn’t quite as cutesy, Gunn has mind muscle, Angel can do things that he’s never done before, Wes is healing (I hope) and Spike is …well, at the mo, he’s just hanging around and being annoying and I was RIGHT about the tone of his voice – it’s all high and chirrupy in Angel whereas in Buffy he’s definitely got the great voice of¬† a ‘well helllo nurse’ on a soapie! It’s a¬†super voice -nicely paced and without the tired nasal quality that Dawn, SMG, Xander and even Will seem to affect -unless they really are tired as Joss worked ’em like a pack of mules! So, maybe Angel will eclipse Buffy but unless they pull something extraordinary out of the hat…my vote may still be the Wimpy Tie!

    I was watching some Doctor Who¬†-Mummy On the Orient Express -unbelievable: great dialogue, crackin’ pace, filled with mystique, Capaldi’s voice like syrup, every scene and take perfect. Still, 12 episodes compared to 22 a year. Not so easy I now see.

    we’re all very lucky. Great telly out there -when you find it.

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @purofilion — I do make the point about the Scoobies vs Angelettes in the s5 blog. Whereas the Scoobies seem to be, well, almost a bit pathetic compared to their fresher faced versions in seasons 1-4, the Angel Inc team do seem to grow, to have evolved and developed as characters, to have triumphed over what life has thrown at them rather than looking a little bit to have been beaten by it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re necessarily better people than they were in earlier seasons. Because it wouldn’t be Angel if it were that simple.

    RE. Spike. His delivery is different. I guess part of that is maybe that James Marsters might have been a bit out of practice as Spike when he joined Angel. But also that his character is fulfilling a different function here. He’s no longer the cool’n’sexy love interest. To anyone. He’s primarily there as a foil to Angel. He’s there to be annoying. And to be a slightly comedic second-fiddle character, not unlike the role Wesley played in s1 & 2.

    RE. Mummy. Yes, I think as it settles into Who history, this is the episode that’s going to be remembered as the bona fide classic of Capaldi’s first season. And when I rewatched it, the other thing that struck me is that they put him in the perfect costume — much more Doctorish than his usual ensemble. If I were Moffat and Co, I would put him in that ensemble more often. They should just embrace the whole Pertwee of it.

    Anonymous @

    @jimthefish love that line “embrace the Pertwee of it”. That should be on a T-shirt!

    So, MotOE as the classic piece? I wondered about Listen -it is (I thought) my fav episode of the series -I like the Orson/Rupert/Danny/Dr in a barn situation -so much material and yet it never feels rushed. But I realise I like it primarily as showing the wondrous work of the ensemble cast.

    In The Mummy it’s very much Capaldi’s episode, every little phrase and particularly his questioning looks, the eyebrows, the sarcastic smile, the excitement about “talking about my planets now?” is a glory to behold. Of course, the cast are fantastic, Clara¬†sad smiles “malfunctioning” and all the rest -maybe they come together just right in that ep -a sterling set piece.

    Yes, JM may have been out of practise with his ‘right voice’ for Angel, but perhaps in S6 he was really ‘putting on’ (because he’d been asked to) the almost acceptable boyfriend routine? I noticed the tight blue t shirt in the beginning¬†of S7 to accentuate the eyes perhaps and the general ‘look down’ of the camera, rather than the camera looking up at him – or at least looking right across at him -I’m talking about ¬†direction (I know zilch about this stuff but I’m seeing things I wouldn’t have before = a plus!) meaning we see -or are meant to see- a normal guy (handsome as all heck rather than¬†evil demon). In Angel the lighting isn’t quite so flattering -more as it had once been, it’s real, I think. The ‘will he shag her’ thing is put to rest and he looks¬†a little out of place on the steps of W and H.

    Offices and ‘plush’ are not his best reflection: the gloomy lair works a lot better on the girls. It’s a rock star thing.

    And of course I find out he has a band -robot¬†something something…. Does everyone have a band?¬†As opposed to “is everybody stoned?” Quite probably both.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion, @jimthefish ¬†MotOE, yes, a gorgeous piece, polished and dark to precisely the right “period” tone — it does stick in my memory as a finely-cut gem, complete with strong moral-dilemma undertones and overtones, and that beautiful little scene on the beach after . . . ¬†Just a knock-out. ¬†“Listen” is more of a mysterious enigma story, haunting in its own way and leaving tantalizing questions. ¬†But for a really *satisfying* piece, Mummy takes it, hands down, for me. ¬†Curious to see how people feel about this when the usual re-run orgy starts next summer, leading up to Season 9 — will minds change?

    Well, if the show teaches anything, it teaches that change is inevitable, so . . .

    Hey, anybody place that line (and give the exact wording) of the Doctor’s remark that something — the earth? ¬†the universe? — “grows by catastrophe”? ¬†Been thinking about it, but probably I have it wrong.

    Anonymous @


    “Stars grow cold planets implode, catastrophe is the metabolism of the universe”

    Forest of Trees episode


    Anonymous @

    @ichabod I only knew this because  I happened to have watched MotOE and then a few more -I wanted to see The Forest ep again.

    And your query was in the back of my head at the time! I heard ‘catastrophe’ and went “oh hang on”. So it was a stumble but a wonderful one and convinced me that I love the Forest episode -I know the science buffs who came to this site twice, didn’t. They came first because of the Moon Egg and complained bitterly about the germ being explained as an exocellular somethingarother but it was …oh never mind….been there¬†done that and negativity creates it’s own space…

    Watching Dark Water -probably the 5th time although there’d be those here who’d have seen it 20 times by now. Also a gem. What I like about these episodes is the poetry. When the Doctor says a simple pedestrian line such as “work or kids or dishes or dullness” in relation to wherever Clara wants to go, he infuses it with such lovely irony and¬† acceptance of her human-ness. Anyway, wrong thread for this.

    I also love his faintly geriatric moves. He can’t run properly without looking like he’s going to bump into things. I wonder if this Doctor could evade the Angels in the spaceship during The Time of Angels like the 11th could? Probably not, so I hope he doesn’t have to run anywhere too fast. Or at least can convince others to “do as you’re told” in that stertorious voice he occasionally demonstrates when he’s weary. That is a word isn’t it? I’m sure it was. Either it isn’t or Microsoft is not acknowledging I’ve spelt it incorrectly which I thought I’d had. Mmm. Puzzling.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion — Yes! ¬†That’s it, exactly what I imagine a very old wanderer of the universe(s) would think and say. ¬†It’s not just *us*, humans, who are puny and helpless when large scale natural upheaval threatens. ¬†Even Time Lords, even *every*body, is dwarfed by the scale of the laws of physics working themselves out on everything, and too damn bad if you’re in the way, because the universe does. ¬†not. ¬†care. ¬†And that’s why I, too, love ItFofN — something catastrophic is about to happen, and even the Doctor, with all his accumulated knowledge and experience, can’t stop it — but Nature provides a shield for the earth — *this* time. ¬†Another time, maybe not. ¬†Eventually, surely not. ¬†There is no time scale on which “everybody lives”; quite the opposite. ¬†That’s in-your-face knowledge for a Time Lord in a way that it’s not for most creatures with a more limited perspective. ¬†For humans, trying to act ethically has been supposed to earn a “reward” — God’s approval, permanent Paradise, a pretty nonsense (IMO) that we’ve created as the ultimate security blanket.

    The Doctor has nothing like that: he can’t un-see what he’s been witnessing for so long, an endless pageant of ceaseless transformation, which also means of death. ¬†Of course he’s a heroic figure, but not for saving worlds or saving the universe. ¬† ¬†He’s a hero for bothering to act at all, let alone try to be “a good man”, in the face of knowing that it’s all (ultimately) futile: “Nothing gold can stay.” ¬†Neither can anything shitty either, but hey, it’s the gold we clutch at. ¬†Yes, Arthur’s knights will learn to protect the weak instead of preying on them, but the weak will die anyway, and the Round Table will be corrupted or otherwise destroyed, and off we go again into the abyss (or the world of “Game of Thrones”, which is very similar).

    Whoah; how the hell did I get here? ¬†Sorry, wandering; point is, I think, that to see darkness prevail over and over in the course of a very long life would be all that’s needed to provide the Doctor with, on the one hand, a natural gloominess of mind more far-reaching than mere Scots dourness. ¬†Donna says, “You have to save *somebody*!” ¬†The Doctor could respond, “Why? ¬†Nobody is ever really saved.” Instead, he tries. ¬†Even at his most chilly, unhappy (Clara is leaving), and determinedly detached, he uses those deaths on MotOE to figure out how to save the others. ¬†In some ways “Mummy” is a polished piece of noir fiction (lacking only an ending in which Clara or Maisie turns out to be GUS).

    “Dark Water” — more astounding every time I watch it. ¬†The poetry is there, all right, inescapable, even in the story itself (apart from the lines and their delivery). ¬†Here’s Clara, a female Orpheus searching for her male Eurydice, and the Doctor is the god of a hell he purposefully created, with whom she must bargain for a chance to bring back her dead lover. ¬†Honestly, isn’t that ridiculous, in a family show with millions of fans? ¬†Send in the fart monsters! ¬†Only it’s *not* ridiculous, because of Coleman’s focused intensity, and because of what Capaldi does with his character and how he does it. ¬†For one thing, how in blazes does he make his face look like a goddamn zombie-skull when he answers three times, “NO”? ¬†It’s partly the camera angle, partly how he drops his jaw and rounds his mouth around the “o” sound, and partly, always, the eyes. ¬†He looks like a demon, barring our hero’s way, but she won’t give in — so he does.

    Oh, the word I think you’re looking for is “stentorian”, meaning (I think) loud and commanding. ¬†He’s got that down; talk about a super-power! ¬†Damn. ¬†Too long, and too late, again; I need an editor, and a merciless one at that.

    Anonymous @


    stentorian -that’s it? Or is it? The version I had was like ¬†‘stertore’ from the Latin ‘to snore’. The Doctor when weary and almost bored from the pudding brained people tends to get all s_____.

    Arcane words. Gotta love ’em and pet ’em.

    Yes, the pretty paradise. Boy Ilion is going to Church tomorrow where he’s been commanded to read some of Luke tomorrow in Sunday School. He’s practising right now. Problem is, everyone’s bickering about when to practise it, how to read it, should it be typed up rather than read from the small bible etc… So, the bickering to what end?

    I recall, many years ago, that on the Easter long weekend there were many a fairy tale stories about the Crucifixion¬†& the resurrection with the good ol’ Charlton Heston. There was also an actor with surprisingly commanding bright blue eyes playing Jesus, I think. There was The Robe? They don’t play those films much anymore as I don’t especially think anyone would want to watch them and yet for 4 whole days in Oz, the shops close and people work in the garden or hide in their¬†A/C homes doing what? Bickering. LOL.

    just a 1/10 on this topic thread….better move to the Hoof or the Sofa….

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    For humans, trying to act ethically has been supposed to earn a ‚Äúreward‚ÄĚ

    If anyone wants to find the graves of the great Protestant Reformers, they’ll be the ones with the high speed whirring sounds. ūüėÄ

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @purofilion¬†¬† ‘stertorious’ strikes me as possibly a rather useful addition to the English vocabulary; a¬†conflation of stentorian (from Stentor, the Homeric herald) and ‘stertorous’ – normally used for the laboured breathing of someone suffering from respiratory disease, but could, I suppose, be applied to a husky, rasping voice ūüôā

    @ichabod¬†¬† Acting ethically is its own reward, or so I was brought up to think¬† – the Quaker influence on¬†my upbringing, perhaps ( I always felt that the promise of ¬†‘pie in the sky, or else …’ was more than a little dodgy).

    Anonymous @

    @mudlark thank you!

    it’s¬† indeed stertorous

    it is from the latin ‘to snore’ -I think, you know, high school Latin and all that? But yes, usually used when people/characters are experiencing a difficulty to breathe.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @bluesqueakpip ¬† Ah, they’re the ones with everybody already assigned their rewards at birth or later on by some arbitrary granting of “Grace”? ¬†If so, I find that such an absurd notion that I clean forgot about them. ¬†What @mudlark says about goodness as its own reward adds a lot more spinners, I’m afraid. ¬†I was thinking more about things like people paying to build cathedrals in order to offset their various murders etc. and still win their way into Heaven by virtue of being good toward God, at least.

    You know, if we could harness all the energy of all the dead spinning in their graves, we wouldn’t *need* coal or solar or nuclear energy . . .

    @purofilion ¬† I saw “stertorous” connected with “snoring” or “hissing”, but can’t think of a speech of the Doctor’s that I’d apply that too — unless “husky” also applies, since CapDoc’s voice sometimes goes a bit rough that way.

    Mudlark @mudlark


    it is from the latin ‚Äėto snore‚Äô -I think

    Yup! sterto¬† stertere¬† stertui¬† (you really shouldn’t feed my inner pedant ūüôā


    ¬†¬†For humans, trying to act ethically has been supposed to earn a ‚Äúreward‚ÄĚ

    I was thinking more about things like people paying to build cathedrals in order to offset their various murders

    Building churches or endowing monasteries to offset a multitude of sins looks to me more like attempted bribery than ethical action, however you define the latter¬†.¬†¬†¬† But then, as one of my history tutors once remarked, ‘To understand the medieval world you need to think your way into a medieval fog’ ūüôā


    Anonymous @

    @mudlark ”¬†feel your inner pedant “. oh, nope, I won’t go there! @pedant is out and about on the move and isn’t at The big House at the mo. Your latin is very very impressive -I was supposed to conjugate (nouns) ¬†and I cogitated instead thus missing crucial pieces of our lesson puzzles. How does conjugate turn into conjugal? Did you ever get that? Possibly I’ve conjured a very big malapropism indeed

    Mudlark @mudlark


    How does conjugate turn into conjugal?

    Both come from the Latin  coniugere  Рmeaning: to yoke together, to connect  (from iugum, a yoke, and by extension, a yoked team, a pair, the marriage tie)

    I studied Latin up to the age of 18 – it was one of my GCE ‘A’ level subjects.¬† Sadly it is now very rusty indeed, and I am certainly no longer capable of reading Virgil in the original

    Anonymous @

    @mudlark I remember struggling thru Virgil -and doing very badly. Also, I studied a bit of Ancient Greek, boy was that beyond me! Thank you for your expertise with the ‘coniugere’¬† you’re¬† my personal compendium and etymologist (or entomologist? Sadly, I do get those mixed up too. I blame the internet: it’s so convenient to do so!)

    Anonymous @

    @mudlark and of course ‘con’ meaning ‘with’ -that’s pretty 8th grade! Duh!

    Mudlark @mudlark

    @purofilion   Although, as I said, I would struggle mightily to read it now, I have still a couple of lines of the Aeneid Book II by heart

    O miseri, quae tant isania cives? Creditisne avectos hostes? Aut ulla putatis dona carere dolis Danaum?  Sic notus Ulixes? Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.

    Laocoon to the Trojans, warning them not to be fooled by the wooden horse – ‘I fear the Greeks, especially when the bring gifts’ and all that.

    (Note to self: stop showing off!)

    Anonymous @

    Hello I’m MikoŇāaj and I’m collecting money on my indiegogo campaign for Doctor Who themed trip to England:
    Please donate and share.

    Anonymous @

    @jimthefish @craig

    re the above @master is this stuff allowed?? Seriously? ūüôā Some kind of joke perhaps? Would ppl really give away money like that?

    @mudlark keep giving -the Latin, I mean ūüôā I love the unaffected Latin more than the Greek. The trouble with Greek -though the true scholar would disagree, is that Greek (ancient anyway) is so muddied by time and transl, that what’s left is often unpronounceable and confusing. After 6-7 years I still couldn’t actually speak a word of it. With Latin it’s still used in much music -even Mozart and the classicists: easy to pronounce and well, some things sound better in the original ¬†Latin, don’t they? Mozart’s Ave Verum, for example. I think @arbutus wouldn’t dispute this?

    I did end up watching The Robe at Easter after all: the local new video library had a copy: scratched and jumpy but good nonetheless. I can’t remember whether it was Marlon Brando or…grr…(memories¬†fading) ¬†the other actor with a voice like syrup from that time period. Noticed, surprisingly that Video Network also had all the Buffy series as well as Bones. I think @jimthefish originally mentioned Bones had Boreanaz in it from Angel. He has had quite the career : unstoppable!

    Anonymous @

    @master I’ve checked your indiegogo page (new to me). What are you going to England for? Where are you¬†from? Is the long term prospect education, formal/informal; creating a movie: therefore an artistic production? In checking that page I wasn’t able to find any information about you particularly just other participants in the process of building a¬†foundation¬†to enable¬† certain charitable exercises to go forward.

    I’m not sure if this is the best place for your request? It seems like the indiegogo page and the art of helping others (I’ll call it that for now) seems to be going strong, however!

    Cheers, puro.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    Ah, they‚Äôre the ones with everybody already assigned their rewards at birth or later on by some arbitrary granting of ‚ÄúGrace‚ÄĚ? If so, I find that such an absurd notion that I clean forgot about them.

    Really? You do surprise me. Firstly predestination is a theory that resulted from observed facts; secondly, predestination is a theory that Doctor Who is perpetually having to sidestep around.

    The observed facts are that some people – even in the Early Modern period – are religious and some aren’t.

    The point that Doctor Who is continually having to sidestep around is that – if you know the history of the entire universe, past, present and future – then you presumably know who’s going to be exterminated by a Dalek. Equally, if there is a God, presumably they know who’s saved and who’s not.

    It’s a short step from there to theorising that this level of foreknowledge implies that everyone’s fate is ultimately ‘predestined’ (aka a ‘deterministic’ universe). Add this to observed facts (some people are religious, some not) and it’s a short step to the idea that this is due to some arbitrary granting of grace. Or, to lead back to Doctor Who, that it’s the Doctor’s fault some poor sod got blown up by a Dalek because the Doctor knew about it and didn’t stop it (didn’t grant ‘grace’).

    Anyway, I wasn’t referring to predestination, because the great Protestant reformers didn’t think it that important – their principle was ‘salvation by faith alone’. It was the later Calvinists who picked up the idea of predestination and ran with it.

    What I was referring to was:

    What @mudlark says about goodness as its own reward adds a lot more spinners, I’m afraid.

    Yeah, probably because that’s considerably closer to the mainstream Christian belief? Being good will not, by itself, get you into Heaven. Jesus doesn’t want you to be good to rack up celestial brownie points – he wants you to be good because it’s the right thing to do.

    I was thinking more about things like people paying to build cathedrals in order to offset their various murders etc. and still win their way into Heaven by virtue of being good toward God, at least.

    That would be the Pelagian heresy. It’s big in pop culture, but is, errmm, y’know – a heresy? Rather than mainstream?

    You’re confusing the endowment of churches (and hospitals, and schools, and leper houses) so that people could say prayers for your evil and sin-spotted soul (hopefully doing you some good) with ‘buying your way into Heaven’. Even at the height of medieval salesmanship, I’m pretty sure that the only ‘redemption’ offered was a remission of time in Purgatory, not acceptance into Heaven.

    Craig @craig

    @Purofilion I don’t have a problem with crowdfunding – it’s what people do now. It gets movies made. I’ve contributed to a few crowdfunding projects myself. Although none reached their target so I never actually spent any money.

    Always backing the wrong horses!

    Also, at some point I may ask for donations to help run the site – but that doesn’t seem like it will happen any time soon – it doesn’t cost me much at present. Only if it grows much bigger.

    And if I ever run a marathon again I may ask for donations. Although that’s unlikely as well! Those things kill you.

    So I don’t have an issue with Doctor Who themed fundraisers, although it seems our friend Master has deleted his account and his fundraiser. So you may well have called him out on it not being genuine, or Indiegogo did, as the fundraiser page doesn’t exist now either!

    Craig @craig

    @bluesqueakpip @pedant @jimthefish @Purofilion and any other Buffy fans.

    I’ve started watching iZOMBIE, which is a new show on The CW, in the US, and it reminds me a lot of Buffy. It’s only three episodes in so it could go all pear-shaped, but so far it’s quite fun.

    It’s based on a comic book and is about a young woman who gets turned into a zombie. So she starts working at the Seattle PD morgue so she can eat brains. But when she eats a brain she takes on the personality of the dead person and has visions of their death, so she helps solve their murder.

    It sounds ridiculous, I know, but it’s all done quite tongue-in-cheek, in that Buffy way.

    There’s also another zombie out there, the only other one that exists, and he’s bad, and very much like Spike.

    Just thought I’d put it on your radar.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @bluesqueakpip ¬†Well, what dingbat heretic I am! ¬†Well, probably not — can a person with a Jewish mother and a lapsed (probably) Catholic dad even be a heretic, or do you have to be a Christian before you can become a heretic? ¬†Yes, I was thinking of funding the building of churches and leper houses qualified as “doing a good deed” that would help with your Heavenly entrance requirements, regardless of whether people actually went and prayed on your behalf. ¬†So what categories of action did count for that, for Christians who didn’t believe that faith alone would get you saved?

    As for predestination, how could it be derived from observation? ¬†Yes, I can observe that some people are religious and some are not, but on what observed evidence could anyone conclude that those who are religious are already constrained to be religious and so to receive Grace; or that they reliably arrive some time after death in Heaven? ¬†All that’s *observable*, so far as I can see, is that some people are more religious than others, for various reasons that *might* include “grace”, but equally might include being carrot-and-sticked as little kids into exhibiting the accepted signs, in their culture, of being very religious. ¬†The pre-birth and post-death foundations of the idea are all inference; only the visible behavior in between is observable, and it’s impossible to know by observation whether even that is authentic, or fake piety assumed for social or situational reasons. ¬†That’s where the “absurdity” lies, for me. ¬†What evidence did the Calvinists et al observe that I’m missing?

    Basically, the idea makes no sense to me. ¬†If you know all of universal history from beginning to end, then you are pretty much God, and why would you bother engaging at all, or even paying any further attention to the behavior of anyone or anything? ¬†What for? ¬†Watching a self-designed pageant that can only play out one way at every single branching of every single ensouled being’s tree of choices — yawn. ¬†Well, if you’re God, or Destiny (still god), sure, you can do as you please, but my eyes glaze over with boredom at the thought. ¬†Meaning — which for me *is* choice, never entirely free of conditions of course, but flexible within a greater or smaller range of possibilities — is leached out of existence.

    But for the Doctor, would such knowledge be possible? ¬†Has he had the infinite time it would take to visit all of the universe at every moment, or even just at future as well as past “fixed points”? ¬†He’s only, what, 900 to 2,000 yrs old. ¬†So maybe as a Time Lord in training he studied the Time Lord equivalent of the Akashic Record, but you would probably need many thousands of years to study, absorb, and memorize all of the events recorded there, or even a summary of the high points. ¬†He’s a very long-lived time traveler with some special tools and powers, but he’s not God or even a god, so the “gray areas” he now claims to have in his view of events make sense to me. ¬†That’s a major advance in terms of accounting for his bothering to do anything at all — but still, why? ¬†Why bother? ¬†Any action must be adjusted (or abolished) for the time flow ¬†to reach the next fixed point (unless his acts already align with that fixed point), or the point isn’t that fixed point any more — it’s changed. ¬†He has to be able to act in ignorance of the actualized future in order for his choice of action (or inaction) to be significant beyond the immediate moment of his act/non-act.

    I propose a different model of time, one that makes more sense to me, but I’m going to propose it over on the Sofa, I think, and Craig can move it back here if he thinks it’s okay here.


    Anonymous @


    So, do you feel better now? ūüôā

    No, I quite agree with you on all points (all which you make with more wit and erudition than ever I could!) -the predestination business is quite the nonsense and as for observable? Again, by whom?

    @craig checkin’ it out now. Thanks!

    Anonymous @


    Ah Sheesh!! I’m sorry I just assumed if it could be someone we wouldn’t know it could be a bit…wrong?

    OK. Not my site, shouldn’t have said anything at all. Big Oops on my part.

    As for marathons, it’s a thing isn’t it in the UK? My other family all go in for this stuff and all, and I mean all 6 of them end up in the emergency room within a few hours -and each year they still go in for it!

    Running this site? You know, I need to eat some brains because here I am using the site not thinking it costs anything at all to run..the site. Again with the Sheesh!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    do you have to be a Christian before you can become a heretic?

    Yes. ūüôā For non Christians, thinking a heresy (or a minority view) represents mainstream Christianity is merely an ‘oops’. ūüėČ

    So what categories of action did count for that, for Christians who didn’t believe that faith alone would get you saved?

    I honestly don’t think that question is answerable, because you still seem to be working on a ‘brownie points’ assumption. The best I can do is give you the summary of the commandments: ‘love God, and love your neighbour as yourself.’ That encompasses a fairly wide spread of categories of action…

    All that‚Äôs *observable*, so far as I can see, is that some people are more religious than others, for various reasons that *might* include ‚Äúgrace‚ÄĚ, but equally might include being carrot-and-sticked as little kids into exhibiting the accepted signs, in their culture, of being very religious. The pre-birth and post-death foundations of the idea are all inference; only the visible behavior in between is observable, and it‚Äôs impossible to know by observation whether even that is authentic, or fake piety assumed for social or situational reasons.

    You do realise that theories are inferred from observable evidence, don’t you? To repeat myself (with italics): predestination is a theory that resulted from observed facts. … The observed facts are that some people ‚Äď even in the Early Modern period ‚Äď are religious and some aren‚Äôt.

    Now, in return, you present:

    All that’s *observable*, so far as I can see, is that some people are more religious than others,

    Which is exactly what I said.

    for various reasons that *might* include

    … and you now present your theories. [Incidentally, I’m interested to know how your carrot-and-stick theory accounts for adult conversion, or for religious children of non-religious parents? Or, for that matter, for the non-religious children of religious parents?]

    Basically, the idea makes no sense to me

    I’m presuming that you mean predestination? It makes perfect sense to me, because we (in our present) are the past to someone in the future. And if events in the past are fixed from our present viewpoint, it follows that events in the present (which is the past to that hypothetical future person) are also fixed.

    However, if we don’t know what those future events are, we can make entirely free choices. IF we don’t know our own futures. ūüôā Just as William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet by himself, despite the Doctor knowing how the whole play would turn out (and helping him on some of the prose bits). ūüėČ

    If you know all of universal history from beginning to end, then you are pretty much God, and why would you bother engaging at all, or even paying any further attention to the behavior of anyone or anything? What for?

    Because you like people. Even though they may often irritate you, or disgust you, the reason you engage is because you like people.

    That’s why the Doctor engages. In Christian belief that’s why God engages – though the normal statement is a bit stronger than ‘like’. ūüėÄ

    ichabod @ichabod

    @craig ¬†Yep, with you on the Zombie show — I quite like it! ¬†It’s so up-beat, without being utterly goofy, that it’s very pleasing — comic book fiction transcribed to the screen without the usual blow-hard shenanigans the put me right off.

    @bluesqueakpip ¬†— Can’t agree, because our action now isn’t “fixed” in the past until the future happens and turns our present into past. ¬†I don’t see that because from an actualized future, looking back at us shows our present as fixed, that means that our present and immediate future (which we are in the process of making right now) are fixed *for us*, any more than the rest of the future between us and them is fixed for us. ¬†We in the present are not in the same position re present time as they in the future will be. ¬†Does not compute — but then again, I won’t really believe that time travel — ¬†including actions that interfere with time’s one-way, past-sealing arrow — is possible until some one does it and reports back with evidence. ¬†Reading a lot of SF, with different takes on this, has made me very skeptical on the subject.

    For the Doctor, of course, I happily kick skepticism out the window and sit back to enjoy great fairy tales with “science”, and often logic too, cheerfully cut to fit.

    As for the Doctor liking people, he clearly does all of the time for some people, some of the time for all people, I guess, and mixing into our affairs works if he’s got gray areas that protect him from knowing the outcome of his or others’ actions (assuming a fixed future that can still be knocked loose a bit here and there by a smart guy with a sonic). ¬†But God? ¬†Here we part company, I think. ¬†My response to a God giving a fig for people, let alone liking them, is pretty much the same as Stephen Fry’s answer: “Really? ¬†Cancer in little kids?” which is sufficient, for me, to stand for the whole problem of evil. ¬†I’m an atheist because by its actions, the God concept looks monstrous to me. ¬†If you have the power to do something about suffering — something that alleviates or removes it — ¬†and you don’t — how “good” are you?

    One way I know that the Doctor is not God is that he does, in fact, make an effort, and even succeeds sometimes, at least in the short run, in alleviating suffering. ¬†That God engages is, to my mind, another of those unobservable inferences that religious people make. ¬†I’m not, and I don’t. ¬†I know there are masses of theoretical arguments over this, but for me none that I know of weighs a feather on the scales of ¬†suffering (of any and all sentient beings) as we have always known it and continue to know it. ¬†So I think we should agree to disagree.

    If I knew how to do those smiley face things, I’d sprinkle them throughout as a symbol of “no rancor intended” in the above argument. ¬†The peaceful discourse in this space is too precious to disrupt, unless it’s to shout “Daleks coming!” and meaning it.

    @purofilion ¬†Eh, thanks for the second; and I *would* feel better, if not for the fact that the blasted mulberry trees have gone apeshit on out city, choking the air with pollen and drowning many of us in our own sinus juices. ¬†I’m loaded with Claritin, which makes me dopey . . . A couple of weeks of this (which used to happen in May, by the way), and all will be better.

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod @bluesqueakpip

    Bear in mind that I used to be a Church goer and stopped firstly due to pure laziness but also because whichever Christian church I found, I also found some really irresponsible people with rather awful beliefs about humanity: they assured me they never judged and yet it was always: “gay people have a medical condition which needs treating” or “prosperity comes to those who are faithful”. I couldn’t stomach such ideas. It was always simplistic. Being really ill myself I tend to catch myself praying and then swearing (if no help is on the horizon) so my belief and faith wavers terribly. I can’t call myself a believer but neither am I an atheist!

    Is it up to a god to remove all our suffering? It would be an accepted belief by Christians and those in religious positions (or simply those who have faith in a higher power) that it is up to us to create the knowledge and carry out the actions necessary leading to a successful ‘outcome’¬† – in other words saving children or adults from some awful disease for example. If God were to interact continuously and remove or alleviate our own suffering how would we as individuals progress to a position where we are likely, and able, to achieve that which we need or want?

    If we are to eventually become gods (should that be part of a belief system, in some case Christian) we would be expected to have within us the capacity to understand the importance of knowledge, of action, of deliberate understanding and of choice and agency.  The problem with this is that it ends sounding very callous to our human ears -the concept of suffering: that there will always be suffering and that it is up to us, individually and in groups, to alleviate it and find means of reducing or preventing it.

    I often like to think of God as having ‘gone fishing’ and leaving us to it -to find answers to seemingly limitless problems. At what point does God step in? When it is too hard to co-exist? Or exist at all? Does he choose who and how he helps? At what point must he leave us to it? And at what point does God actually assist without us knowing that he’s doing anything at all?

    I am no theologian but I find these questions interesting. I always will. Though it doesn’t mean that I don’t become viscerally angry -often! Should my anger be directed at those in power who demonstrably fail to help? Sick children? Cancer? And not just there of course: the child sex industry which has been going on ever since life began. It’s our job to help stop it¬† -I don’t think it’s God’s obligation to do so. Does he point us in the right direction? I would like to think so.

    Hmmm. Boy, this is on the wrong thread, I think. But I agree with @ichabod that this site is a heavenly little place where peace ‘rules’ and debates are encouraged and settled happily. @bluesqueakpip you are completing a Masters in theology in the UK? Are you planning to complete a PhD following? I do love to read your Socratic responses to everything: from¬†timey whimey Moffat tangles to theology…it’s terrific. ūüôā

    Anonymous @

    @craig I’m sorry about our conversations which by now are so obviously on the wrong place.

    Can they be moved (not that you don’t have¬† better things to do!)? To the Sofa perhaps? Or we can just navigate our next theology debate ourselves, without¬† timey whimey assistance

    Cheers ūüôā (in the spirit of the above smiley faces)

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion ¬†I do get the idea that we’re meant to grow our own consciences and capabilities and virtue, and in fact that is what I think reincarnation, as I’ve come to see the idea, is about, only more effectively because learning occurs throughout many lifetimes and eventually leads to all of those developments. ¬†Then you either graduate back to the non-physical — to continue your “education” there? ¬†Maybe — or you choose to stick around on the physical for a while, acting as an enlightened role model for others to learn from, before you move off the physical for good. ¬†I’m working off part of the Buddhist model here, I think, which is about process rather than Godhood.

    I think that dispenses with the God problem (the problem of evil) by dispensing with God, for whose existence there is (to me) not convincing evidence anyway. ¬†The problem of evil becomes the problem of choice in collision with other choices + the laws of physics etc. ¬†Nobody *made it* bad; it’s just a really crazy-harsh environment for beings of pure spirit embodied in physical bodies.

    You’re still left with the First Cause problem (so who made the laws of science and our spirits?), but frankly I don’t need an answer to that in order to get on with dealing with the physical while I’m here in the middle of it, which is what I’ve come here to do. ¬†My questions stop there; I have what I need, and the rest can wait for whatever (if anything) death brings. ¬†Well; for me it *must* wait, unless convincing proof of something else arrives before I kick the bucket.

    Assuming we want to go on with this bit, I think we have to move this stuff over there to the sofa too, right?  Craig?  Cut and paste, or what?

    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @craig and @purofilion —

    I’m looking forward to checking out I Zombie. Of all the supernatural standard tropes, zombies are my least favourite but I’ve heard good things about this and will definitely be checking it out.

    I’m about three quarters through the first season of Grimm and I have to admit that while it’s choc full of great ideas, there’s something about it that’s just leaving me cold. It’s created by David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf so I would expect slightly better and I think it’s down to the rather flat characterisation and I’m not sure they got the casting quite right either. Lots of Buffy alumni showing up left, right and centre though. Including Amy Acker as a foxy seductress who transforms into a literally man-eating tarantula. (substitute that for preying mantis and it’s suddenly ‘hey, where have I seen this before’? And that’s essentially the problem with the show — lots of ideas recycled shamelessly from both Buffy and Angel. If you’re resorting to that in your first fifteen episodes then it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. It also lacks sufficient humour.

    But Mrs Fish seems to like it, so I guess I’ll be seeing see it develops.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @jimthefish — I have no patience for boring, one-note zombies either, with their comical “Brains!” refrain and absolutely baseless (as usually written) brutish aggression. ¬†That’s why iZombie seems so fresh — this girl is a dead *person*, with personal concerns only with a twist to the lens; and briefly taking on characteristics of dead people she noshes on gives the show some intriguing zip as well. ¬†How long it will hold up, I wouldn’t predict, but I’m liking it so far.

    I keep checking in on Grimm, and I keep changing the channel, every time. ¬†Flat characters is certainly a huge part of the problem for me; these people just bore me, with their endless sub-rosa politicking and threatening and posturing. ¬†I just can’t get hooked, even though I’d certainly like to — more to watch!

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    My response to a God giving a fig for people, let alone liking them, is pretty much the same as Stephen Fry‚Äôs answer: ‚ÄúReally? Cancer in little kids?‚ÄĚ which is sufficient, for me, to stand for the whole problem of evil.

    Which problem, of course, has never even occurred to Abrahamic religious people in the three and a half millennia since Judaism got itself organised. We never even noticed that terrible things happen to innocent people. ūüėą

    See the Book of Job for an example of someone struggling with that one about (probably) 2,600 years ago. Or, in a desperate attempt to keep this vaguely on-topic, you could check out The Ark (BBC, currently on iPlayer, dunno when it’s going to be on BBC America), a heartwarming story of a loving God who … sends a flood to kill lots and lots of people. [Actually, it’s very well written and acted, even if rather obviously low on the budget.]

    I could go into this in a lot more detail (surprise!), but I’ll say a couple of things. Firstly, it’s only really a problem in the Abrahamic religions, because they’re the ones with the concept of one God, who is good. And all powerful. And who takes a personal interest. And who appears to allow suffering. And there’s no reincarnation. Errr…. drat. ūüėČ

    If you don’t believe in God, there is no problem, because it’s just the way things are. If you believe in gods and demons who are as powerful as each other, there’s no problem, because evil is the work of evil demons (or evil gods) and the good ones aren’t powerful enough to sort it out. If you believe in one god, but one who just created the universe and then nipped off for a very extended cup of tea and a biccie (leaving us to our own devices) – it’s not a problem, because that god obviously can’t be arsed about us. If you believe in reincarnation, there’s no problem, because suffering is your own fault due to your actions in a previous life.

    I‚Äôm an atheist because by its actions, the God concept looks monstrous to me. If you have the power to do something about suffering ‚ÄĒ something that alleviates or removes it ‚ÄĒ and you don‚Äôt ‚ÄĒ how ‚Äúgood‚ÄĚ are you?

    Approaching it from the other side: there are all these religious ideas (including atheism) in which the existence of suffering is not a religious problem. There is also a world in which the existence of suffering is obvious to even a moderately intelligent seven year old.

    And yet over half the world (at least) follows this ‘monstrous’ concept of a good, involved, powerful God.

    So: first question. Do we know enough about the world to know if it’s possible to have a world without suffering? And a subset of that question: can we always know when suffering has been alleviated (it’s really difficult to spot a miracle where someone miraculously doesn’t get cancer in the first place).

    Do we know enough to know if suffering can always be alleviated, or if it’s possible to remove all suffering? For example, suppose it was possible to create a world in which no children (and no adults) get cancer – but only by creating a world in which those children (and adults) were never born at all?

    Second question. Given that natural and moral evil don’t exactly suggest that the universe is in the control of a good God, where did we get the idea from? It’s about as intuitively obvious as suggesting that the Earth orbits the sun. It makes quantum mechanics look sensible.

    But before I find myself tootling on to 5000+ words on ‘Does human suffering disprove the existence of God’ (with bibliography), I’ll just leave it at that. ūüôā

    Anonymous @


    I’ve been re-reading and re-reading your arguments about predestination: never have I heard it explained with so much sense! It seems, well, more easily understood. Similarly “the good works alone” argument not cutting the cheese is made sense as “you do it because it’s right”. I did one middling theology subject for a semester; at which I did well ¬†(throwing up fireworks :), but it was a dry description of the various early churches, the councils of Nicea etc and the arguments put forward by early Christians.

    So predestination can be brought back to “you believe and are religious or you are not” and “you’ll not be saved by faith alone” can be transl into “do it because it’s right to do it” and not as you say, the brownie points system…do I have that right? Is it, good works shant save you? Because of the above phrase? in other words, “do it because its right to”. Do I have that right?

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip OK, that was thoroughly senseless -mine, obviously. What I meant to say, was “is it faith alone or is it good works will not save you or it is a combination of both” which leads to the idea “do it because it’s right to and you love people”

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    you are completing a Masters in theology in the UK? Are you planning to complete a PhD following?

    Yes, I’m studying theology right now. I already have a Masters, but in Comparative Religions – and while that’s really useful, it’s not sufficient for what I want to do.

    Tell you one thing, I’m beginning to understand why they used to reserve theology for postgraduates. It really is a subject that requires so much background knowledge from so many different academic areas. ūüėē

    Anonymous @

    @bluesqueakpip @ichabod

    Yes, an understanding of the importance of philosophy is necessary -and mixed with that is the knowledge of Socratic argument and a good knowledge of the sciences: complex physics.

    So it seems that if suffering exists, and if goodness exists, and that most of the world believes in an all powerful being, nonetheless (and suffering has always existed, hence Job) then the existence of suffering does not prevent the existence of an all powerful God -or at least the fact we actually still believe in one. Most of us.

    So the existence of suffering does not equal ‘no God’. As you say, the lack of suffering in one specific area is not something we can determine: we don’t know whether¬†a miracle hasn’t happened. We cannot know if suffering has been alleviated nor do we truly know how things (such as suffering and eco woes) could be worse than they already are, or actually, are.

    I tried to watch the first episode of izombie and the typical site one joins to watch movies on line decided my pass word was incorrect, even though I’d just joined. It turns me off using these sort of sites to watch films and telly. Generally I’m a fan of buying the thing rather than watching it on the sly -it means I miss an awful lot & there’s the rub.

    (I seem tipped on the brink of the proverbial decision: “is He there, or is He not?” I go from one absolute certainty and skip back to another. No moral fibre I tell you!!)

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    ‚Äúis it faith alone or is it good works will not save you or it is a combination of both‚ÄĚ which leads to the idea ‚Äúdo it because it‚Äôs right to and you love people‚ÄĚ

    Well, given that it’s past two in the morning here I might be somewhat senseless as well – but I’ll give it a go.

    The Protestant reformers, starting with Luther, were big on the idea of ‘salvation is by faith alone’. We are saved by faith because it’s simply not possible for human beings to ever be perfect enough for heaven. It’s not that we shouldn’t do good works (we’re commanded to do good works), but they’re never gonna get you into heaven. Nope, only faith will do that – though Luther’s definition of ‘faith’ might be a lot better translated by ‘trust’. You are saved because you trust God’s promises of salvation, God’s promises of salvation are made through pure grace. And even that trust is itself a gift of God.

    Now, if you’re a Catholic theologian, you’ll cheerfully agree that good works aren’t sufficient (and that you need God’s grace to receive faith) – but since doing good works is part of a sinner’s redemption, they’re more important in themselves. You do good works both because they are right, and because they will (hopefully) help you to learn to be a better person. If you are a particularly awful sinner, your good works might also help repair some of the damage you’ve done. In a further desperate attempt to stay on topic, I’d say that Angel has that understanding of good works.

    But if my understanding of the Catholic theology is right (I’m Anglican), then asking which one is more important (faith or good works) is like asking whether the flour or the water is more important for making bread. Faith without works is dead. But faith without love is also dead.

    And good works without love are also dead. If I give away all I have to feed the poor … and have not love, I have nothing. Which might be why Angel’s good works never really worked too well; he kept seeing them as a ‘brownie points’ system to atone for his sin, and not as an act of love.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @bluesqueakpip ¬†Of course it’s not a new objection. ¬†This here is the great big “problem of evil” thing, and I’m not setting up for a big argument about it — what for? ¬†Nobody’s been able to reconcile the “good” God with the suffering of everything but rocks (and who really knows about that), and I don’t expect to here. ¬†Just explaining myself; pay it no mind. ¬†Life’s too short . . .

    But let me point out a difference between your statement about reincarnation and where I’ve ended up (so far). ¬†I’d not, as I said, a Buddhist. ¬†I do believe in Karma, but not Buddhist Karma, that can get you demoted by some supreme bookkeeper to a bunch of roach lives for bad behavior. ¬†I think that we create our own Karma because we are our own bookkeepers; and it’s not as easy as all that to earn Karma, good *or* bad (stepping on an ant won’t turn you into a roach next time, unless you decide, between lives, that yeah, stepping on an ant deserves a roach life). ¬†The primacy of choice is crucial, because by choice and its consequence we learn. ¬†IMO, if you reincarnate then you can learn, between lives, all the lessons (including the ones not evident while still doing the life) surrounding your bad (or good) deeds in the life just concluded, including that you’ve done Karmic crap to somebody. ¬†My definition of earning bad Karma is doing something, (intentionally and not by accident or because someone evil held a gun to your head and said do that to X or I’ll blow out X’s brains and then yours), that cancels the learning path of another person’s life. ¬†You are canceling their choices = their lessons on their path to — let’s call it enlightenment. ¬†Bad stuff happens; what counts is what you do about it, and what comes of what you do.

    The only effect this has on your next life is that you (meaning your soul between lives, which has an overview your this-life personality does not) and the other person involved agree that there’s a Karmic debt owed, and you design your next life to ¬†make it possible to repay the debt (or maybe a life three lives down the line — choice makes things flexible). ¬†If, say, you shoot down someone in cold blood like that f**ker in South Carolina yesterday, yes, you owe him. ¬†Becoming a roach doesn’t cut it. ¬†You set up a situation in which you pay that reincarnated person, and that reincarnated person chooses the form of the repayment. ¬†It’s more like physics or chemistry than religion: you deliberately kicked something basic out of balance. ¬†You have to fix your mess before you can get through you incarnations and get the hell out of here for good, no matter how long that takes. ¬†It’s justice without an outside judge, soul to soul.

    If over half the world accepts the monstrous God, fine; I’ve never believed that majority always = right, far from it. ¬†I think a good deal of the world, notably in the West, is outgrowing the whole God thing, and I wish them the best of luck with that, because I do not expect it to be a painless process. ¬†I see getting past God as a phase of growth that has already gained a lot of traction because it’s our natural next step: responsibility.

    Personally, I don’t believe that suffering can ever be abolished from the physical plane: it’s built in, as the necessary constant shifting of energy, often by X catching, killing, and eating Y, repeat repeat repeat, plus the “accidents” of universal laws (math, chemistry, et al). ¬†Pain is inherent in physicality, IMO. ¬†That’s why we pass through here — to learn that and the compassion that comes with it — but we don’t stay. ¬†The idea of God is simply unavoidable, given our human (and usually very fruitful) mind-set of causality and of finding of patterns everywhere, because of the way that our perceptions work.


    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion ¬†About good works: nothing, IMO, “saves” you, because there’s nothing to be saved from. ¬†I see the whole process as the education of each individual soul, including souls not embodied in the human species but in others as well, on this planet and other planets. ¬†All we are doing is progressing gradually through an enormous pageant of return from embodiment to soul-energy that flows back to the original source, the exhale of energy that starts creation by reversing itself, the way your heart takes in blood and pumps blood out again. ¬†inhaling js all back again to merge together into something you could call God except that it’s not about judgment. ¬†You return to the source by learning, not by being saved by somebody else. ¬†The whole “saving” thing never did make any sense to me, still doesn’t. ¬†You “save” yourself, and I think everybody does, sooner or later, because the next “inhale/exhale” of universal energy lies ahead. ¬†The Buddhists are right, I think, about that: many paths, all going to the same place.

    Salvation from what, though? ¬†Bad stuff that I do, I do because my physical self feels , and fears, pain, loss, and death, all of which are inherent in physicality. ¬†What I need to overcome isn’t an evil appetite for “sin”. ¬†It’s fear, the body’s fears for itself. ¬†On the physical plane, I’m a physical being, with all of the options and conditions that that implies. ¬†Once I’ve taken it all in and understood that you don’t “fix” a universe with suffering inherent in its laws, I’m done here. ¬†My soul energy, I think, goes to other levels of existence where the rules are different because they don’t involve nerves that carry pain information, bodies that break down, the death and decay of physicality. ¬†People get glimpses of such levels when they master meditation, or maybe have a near-death experience, or take drugs like ayahuasca and LSD that make such glimpses possible; but we can’t live there with physical bodies. ¬†We’re not here to escape the physical experience; we come here to engage with it, learn from it, and move on. ¬†That’s my concept of what we’re doing. ¬†The closest thing, I guess, is the Hindu idea of life as a dance, existing for its own sake: art, if you like; an art through which the infinite can perceive itself, and for which Karmic exchanges provide shape — the “plot”, if you like, of the story.

    Sorry for rambling, and I’m perfectly content to stop right here forever if I’m being a pain about it. ¬†I just get itchy when feel that the alternative constructions of these matters are being seen to narrowly for the wild multiplicity of the reality, assuming there is such a thing, beneath our religious conceptions and theories, Abrahamic or otherwise. ¬†That’s exactly why I think so many western people now are turning toward spirituality outside of the structures of formal religion (souls, but not God or gods, in my case). ¬†They’ve caught the scent of much wider, more open, less judgmental spaces.

    And or, I’ve had just a bit more wine than I meant to with my chicken tonight, and have blathered on for far too long about non-demonstrable things¬†. . .


    Anonymous @

    @ichabod @bluesqueakpip

    Blue, thank you for that (easy to understand) analysis: I need a clear approach. I am not  a scholar in that area!

    Wonderful debate on both sides; I thought, Ichabod, that more of the world is joining a church system of some sort rather than less? Stats, though, are hard to interpret as some ppl are necessarily embarrassed to admit they are investigating a particular church/faith/deity in a world which tends to sneer at ‘outmoded beliefs’ in favour of responsibility.

    On that point, I would think that responsibility is in fact part of the God/ Faith model: without responsibility you have no real handle on a God which expects you to take responsibility for all actions? I guess as far back as the 2nd century we had the concept of redemption occurring only as part of repentance which connects with the idea of making  significant atonement for any action deemed sinful.

    Even Catholic theology no longer uses the catechism of “say 10 Hail Mary’s and 10 Our Father’s and all will be forgiven”. There’s an encouragement to apologise for an action, therefore taking responsibility for an action and promising to never do it again. We all do “wrong things” which some label as “sin”. The hope is we learn responsibility, which is a personal promise, to never repeat that action again: not for the sake of some higher end (heaven and for me, endless mangoes in a temperature about 23 degrees permanently) but because it’s the right thing to do.

    And I think I referred to Angel’s statement about doing the smallest thing possible and realising, that in the scheme of things, it is the biggest thing possible -in a time where you may think there is no over-arching meaning to life at all, small individual acts of kindness are the imperative. Taking responsibility for action is the top layer of the cake, I would say (let’s add metaphors; they always confuse things) but recognising that brownie points (to steal Blue’s idea) alone are not enough and that¬†God’s grace, favour or our¬†faith, becomes the icing on the cake.

    For Angel, he learns himself that small acts of kindness will ever be important and that eventually you do these things with love. His final battle with Angelus has a lot to do with his giving up of guilt in order to put that part of him to rest, permanently. So that his actions, now tinged with love for the human race (see how he originally preferred to work alone and yet in his ‘vision’ acted as part of a team and a group knowing that together they’re stronger) are connected to a love for them -like the Doctor who always had a soft spot for Earthlings -that we’re optimistic, caring, endearing and explorative -looking for meaning and simply trying hard to be good people in the expression of that search for meaning (unless you’re in Tennant’s era of¬†Torchwood).

    I don’t have the scriptures with me (as in inside my head for quick reference) but I do recall many references in the NT to responsibility as acknowledgement of sin with the smaller or equal portion being God’s obligation to forgive if real intent through repentance exists which can occur through observable change (what others, like you or me, can witness) or what’s within the heart, according to¬† that which only a higher being can see and therefore judge.

    So you’re saying that in this world of reincarnation, it is the individual person who is responsible for making a payment to another person as a result of “shooting some f**ker” and that’s done within some inherent law that only the individual is accountable to create? But this higher law was set up by….who? Or is it a natural step embodied within our personal genetic codes which forces us into creating a new life with a similar set of circumstances which then enables us to choose a different option and therefore the ‘right’ one as part of ‘moving on’?

    Angel, being eternal, has rather an awful problem! Doomed to live forever, he is the reincarnated person in exactly the same circumstances choosing to do good and knowing that how ever many people he may help, it will never be sufficient to pay for the horrible crimes he committed.

    He must let go of the past in order to create a strong future or the guilt will become an enormous¬†burden. This was the Gypsy’s curse, but also possibly, Angel’s natural self before he became a vampire: if ensouled, these people return in some part to the person they once were.

    Which is why Spike is the character who seems to be rather unapologetic about his actions because apologising is almost beside the point in his own mind. He begins to do right because his soul provides a conscience.

    So, in your mind, reincarnation is the active or ‘alive’ conscience which springs from the past life and progressively leads to the new life, corresponding with the idea of purgatory where those lives are ‘lived’ and actions paid for before being granted eternal peace.

    So how did the process of reincarnation begin?¬† An imprint within our genetic code which causes a re-set or something defined by a higher being which, when perfected, leads us¬†all to become pure spirit beings without the need for body? For ‘in body’, is the concrete act of living out good vs evil: a spirit body has no need of the things which cause the human body to want -getting ahead, getting greedy, getting someone’s spouse, getting money through theft to achieve the former want for ‘more’ etc…

    Interesting that Angel has no need for the things humans want: he needs blood only, he doesn’t¬† need a roof over his head. He doesn’t feel the cold and money brings things which, whilst pretty, after a while become boring to anyone who can acquire such things easily over time -one thing he has plenty of.

    Shame that the one thing he needs which happens to be ‘the ‘love of a good woman’¬†can never actually occur without permanent detriment. Angel and the Doctor share many similarities and I can remember Barrowman, as Capt Jack, saying that he outlives everyone else: everyone dies and he doesn’t age. The¬†closeness required for true happiness (the connectedness that every human really needs) neither the Doctor, Angel nor Capt Jack can¬† have.

    ichabod @ichabod

    @purofilion ¬†Um, the “f**ker” in question is the shooter, not the shot, as you can see (if you can stand to watch) right bloody damn here:

    And yes, in my view the cop owes the dead guy big time: eight shots in the back of an unarmed man who’s running away, and then you drop your taser next to him so you can claim that he “grabbed it” so of course you had to shoot him, when he was already some yards away from you but somehow “threatening” your racist ass by being black while running for his life. ¬†That dead man’s entire adult lifetime of choices was just stamped out for no reason but the lazy malice of a white man with a badge and a gun, as I think a trial will show if it’s allowed to.

    Meanwhile, redemption from what? ¬†All most of us do, apart from the malice shown above, is serve our bodies’ natural drives to survive, which it communicates by means of fear and the hormonal reactions of fear. ¬†How can you be “redeemed” from the natural urges of your lizard-brained body? ¬†If you fail an override from your higher self, your soul, well, you try harder next time. ¬†The only sane response to that is compassion, since we’re all in the same boat there. ¬†Malice is going the extra miles in the wrong direction, and for that you pay, to get the full impact of your deed.

    As for forgiveness, that’s a decision to be made by the victim (in this case, the dead man) when lifetimes are reviewed once they’re over, by those who lived them. ¬†A Karmic debt can be forgiven, but not by some outside authority — by the person to whom the debt is owed. ¬†Very advanced souls sometimes do this on the spot as they die (as I believe Gandhi did, re his assassin, before expiring). ¬†You pay your debts, your debts are cleared. ¬†There’s nothing to redeem, and, as I see it, nothing that anyone *else* can do to clear your debts: that’s your job, and sooner or later, you do it. ¬†I think that’s partly about completing the experience, for both parties. ¬†The victim takes the role of killer, and gets to understand him; the killer becomes the victim, and gets *that* side of the experience of murder. ¬†I think it’s the dawn of mutual understanding that makes forgiveness, or cancellation of the debt, even possible.

    Studies keep cropping up of infant idealism, and so far as I know, the results are pretty consistent: infants will spontaneously share, spontaneously commiserate, and spontaneously comfort each other, because that *is* our natural bent — until fear enters the picture. ¬†We know from the beginning that all of us deserve kindness from each other. ¬†Our cultures do their best to cancel that awareness, or at least channel it so that the designated inferior (say, an unarmed black man) is excluded from the category of people who deserve our kindness just by being people. ¬†Fear divides us and pits us against each other, if we let it. ¬†When you’ve lived enough lives, I think you come to a place where you no longer let the fear drive you, because you see where it’s all coming from. ¬†I believe that even malicious acts like this cop’s come, if you look deeply enough, from fear. ¬†Understanding that, the creditor may accept remorse, repentance, and forgive on that basis. ¬†But I think it takes a lot of experience with paying what you owe and collecting what’s owed you before that happens.

    As to where the Karmic system comes from, who set it up, don’t know, don’t much care. ¬†Some Asian philosophies ignore the God thing and skip right to symbolic accounts of energy sorting itself into different forms and from that difference emerges physical creation, which makes sense to me — the whole shebang is just energy, thin, thick, flowing, knotted up more or less tightly (Rocks? Water? “Etheric” gases? ¬†Sound waves?). ¬†I favor that position: there’s no way to observe or “prove” anything, so why waste time on it? ¬†I don’t have to know who designed my and built my car; it’s enough for me that it gets me from here to there. ¬†I guess I flunk as a mystic <ggg>. ¬†I like things that work, no higher being necessary. ¬†I just (!) need to learn to respect and care for the body, but not let it run my behavior for its own hind-brain purposes (me! me! me forever, me myself at any cost to anybody cuz if I die, I’m just dead!). ¬†Well, I’m an author, used to making something out of nothing, and completely de-glamorized when it comes to omnipotent power (which is what I become when I write a story).

    Small scale kindnesses? ¬†Exactly. ¬†I can’t fix the world, but a friend who got fired from a crap job that was killing her and who has other skills but no money has a loan from me as of two days ago, seed money for her own small business, because why not? ¬†I can help (no tax bill this year, because of big deductible expenses re my husband’s dementia facility), so I help because on this scale, I actually *can* help, in a very practical way. ¬†I know she’ll pay it forward, and if not, not; it’s her life.

    I’m saying that “conscience” comes in the package from the get-go, even if you’re just starting out on your first lifetime: it’s wired into us. ¬†The culture preserves itself by distorting or suppressing that innate kindness (it’s the instinct of empathy). ¬†That’s why after a while, we learn to transcend the rules of culture where we can, person to person (try to do it on a large scale and you get the Shrub’s Iraq war — total failure and endless trouble).

    Ah, yes, Angel, the Doctor, and vampirism — you have to wonder. ¬†“The love of a good woman”, though, to me that’s a cultural construct. ¬†What he needs is what we all need: ¬†love without fear, from/for anybody, doesn’t matter. ¬†That’s the cure for fear, and that’s why cultures are terrified of love and try to channel it away into something else — anything, anything but interpersonal interaction (and specifically love for an all-powerful imaginary being — my take on it — whether it’s Allah or Yaweh or the trinity). ¬†Culture controls by fear, because culture serves the body — it protects the bodies of those within it from threats perceived as coming from outside it (say, Muslims), and from enemies within (the hippies, the commies, the fascist conspiracies, the immigrants, etc.), ¬†and more so from the wild card, the wildest card there is, the card that melts away the us/them divide — love, compassion, empathy.

    Yes, you can have that. ¬†We get glimpses. ¬†But it’s like Buddhist enlightenment: it’s a flash in the dark. ¬†Eventually, every companion leaves the Doctor, every lover dies and leaves the vampire trudging through her endless years. ¬† Stan Robinson’s Mars trilogy has Mars colonists whose lives are technologically extended for hundreds of years; eventually, one by one, they commit suicide. ¬†We live by fresh starts, maybe. ¬†In this, the Doctor has a huge advantage over Angel: regeneration. ¬†Clever boy.

    Anonymous @

    @ichabod I attempted to go to the Sofa for this -and I’ll thread this back?

    ichabod @ichabod

    Fortitude’s done, and I’m annoyed to find that I guessed way to early who really killed that Pettigrew person and why, and meanwhile it looks as if there’s a second season planned, and why people kept going crazy and killing each other (all in exactly the same way, very peculiar). ¬†Wanted surprises, got — no surprises. ¬†And torture, too, of course. ¬†Damn it. ¬†I liked it better when the filler material was your trusty old car chase (they could have used snow-mobiles).

    Anybody see GOT tonight? ¬†Snip, snap, quick little scenes all over the map, two lads in a bed, and wind up with a mercy killing, so off we go again; gorgeous to look at, of course. ¬† And then #2 of “Wolf Hall”, which I was surprised to find rather slow. ¬†Reading the book, I was yanked in and drawn under by the incredible flood of sensory detail that just overwhelmed the boring old present I was sitting there reading in, but of course that kind of super-rich rush is gone when you do a screen version. ¬†My mind wanders; I wonder how many pounds of clothes Cromwell is lugging about on what looks to be a rather sleight frame. ¬†At least he got to crack a smile, sing a bit of an Italian ditty, and hit a bull’s eye this time.






    JimTheFish @jimthefish
    Time Lord

    @purofilion — how’s the Angel-fest coming along?

    Anonymous @

    @jimthefish yes! thanks for asking, but it’s school hols and we’re doing a watch of Series 7 of Buffy which the Boy missed (and I couldn’t wait) at the time. I’ve only seen the first 10 eps of S5 Angel and it may stay that way until he’s finished the Buff marathon -watching that again is really interesting -surprisingly, the conclusion to Angel (so far) is seemingly more interesting, tidier and with less speechifying -it’s fresh.

    I just finished the ep before Showtime (Buffy, 7)¬† and I recall being impressed with her “let’s take the fight to them. If they want an apocalypse then we’ll give them one” speech.

    All the while being dishevelled and hurt more than I’d ever seen her. If that had put the ‘car’ into full gear then I could’ve rembered that episode with more fondness -it would have had a built in momentum necessary to plunge the characters into knowledge and procedure as well as tactical strategy. And whilst I appreciated the cute trick with Showtime to teach the potentials some lessons, it didn’t have quite the punch it needed. Giles seems to¬† be perplexed, ¬†‘looking on’ and constantly placing Buffy under the typical watcher pressure: “it’s all up to you: you’re their leader”.

    In Angel, however, each character (so far) seems to have a clearly delineated position and strong ‘costume’, a clear ‘voice’, if you will: I don’t see this in S7, Buffy. The lines are attempting to be as fresh as they were in the original series and yet nary a laugh is bubbling out at this point!

    However, I’m thinking of how terrifying the monsters have become in 7 years; from Mark Metcalf in reddish satin suit to the Turok Hahn which is proper scary and totally other worldly: no words, ¬†just growls and eee-vil glares

    Boy Ilion has as yet to meet Nathan Filion which I recall really upped the show’s credibility -and viability – at a crucial moment, just¬†when we were about to be overwhelmed with too many princess potentials sharing sleeping bags. Potentials on Camp!

    So I think you’ve completed your S5 Angel blog and I haven’t read it yet? I promise to soon,¬† just as soon as Buff 7 is done and …dusted. ūüôā

    Kindest, puro.

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